Today the co-chairs of the bipartisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition issued the following statement applauding President Obama for approving a program requiring gun dealers in four Southwest border states – Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas – to report when they make bulk sales of semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines to a single buyer in a short period of time.
The new program will give law enforcement officers an important new tool to detect and fight illegal trafficking of guns south across the U.S.-Mexico border. According to data recently released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), at least 70 percent of guns traced to crime in Mexico originated in the United States.
The Justice Department’s Inspector General has reported that the percentage of crime guns recovered in Mexico that are long guns increased from 20 percent in 2004 to 48 percent in 2009.
This program is modeled on a proposal the coalition provided to the Administration in August 2009 in its Blueprint for Federal Action of Illegal Guns. Coalition mayors across the nation have worked for nearly two years to urge the adoption of the program, including fending off efforts by some in Congress to block funding for it. The Blueprint is available here: http://bit.ly/9iYYsL
Statement of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg:
“For many years, dealers have been required to report multiple sales of handguns, and the program has been a critical tool for the ATF in attempting to break up gun trafficking rings. In 2008 alone, intelligence from those reports led to 300 criminal investigations connected to more than 25,000 illegal guns. Asking dealers in border states to report bulk sales of assault rifles does nothing to interfere with the rights of law-abiding Americans, and it’s a logical step that will help law enforcement agents fight Mexican gun runners.”
Statement of Mayor Thomas M. Menino:
“For years, Americans and Mexicans have watched in horror as Mexican drug cartels have used assault rifles trafficked from America to kill thousands of people and export drugs to our country. Now, after some in Congress unsuccessfully tried to block this new reporting tool, the Department of Justice has finally announced they are implementing it to help investigators take down illegal gun traffickers. It’s an encouraging sign that the Administration is taking the bloodshed at the border seriously – and taking action to address it.”
About Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Since its inception in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 mayors to over 600. Mayors Against Illegal Guns has united the nation’s mayors around these common goals: protecting their communities by holding gun offenders and irresponsible gun dealers accountable, demanding access to trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat illegal gun trafficking, and working with legislators to fix gaps, weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other prohibited purchasers to get guns.